Travel is a very personal thing, and everyone has a totally different idea of what travel is. For some, it’s merely going on holiday for two weeks in the sun, enjoying time away in a different country. For others, travel means something totally at the other end of the spectrum, maybe disappearing for a year backpacking around Europe or Thailand, with only a bag for company. There is of course everything else in-between, but however you choose to see the world, it’s always a good idea to pick up a few tips as you go along.
Throughout my years of seeing various countries and resorts, I’ve picked up a few of these tips, which I’d like to share. Some may come in handy, some you may never use, but store them in the back of your brain somewhere for future reference!
When it comes to finding a cheap flight there’s not really an art form involved, and it basically comes down to flexibility, patience, and sometimes just being in the right place at the right time. My tip for this would be not to jump at the first price you see, unless it’s ridiculously low and you know it’s the best you’re going to get. Instead, head to Skyscanner, find a flight, and watch it until you know the price is good. Don’t check too often however, you’ll drive the price up with site traffic!
Go where the locals go
An authentic travel experience means heading away from the tourist strip, especially when it comes to food. If you want to try something traditional and local, ask the staff in your hotel or in the local shop to tell you where they go for lunch. You will find prices much lower away from the tourist streets.
Excursions shouldn’t be avoided …
Some people think excursions are a far too touristy thing to do, but I think they’re a great way to see the place you’re visiting in a more controlled way – call it a safety net if you will.
… but don’t pay the rep price!
If you go to a welcome meeting and your rep gives you a list of excursions and prices, simply take note of the places you’d like to go, say ‘thank you very much’, and go onto the streets, heading to the nearest tour vendor. You can easily get the same trip cheaper from here, and if you haggle a little you might even find the cost lowers further.
There are more lone travellers out there than you realise
When I first started travelling on my own, basically because it was that or no holiday at all, I thought I’d be the only one, but I soon realised that at least a quarter of the people you meet are probably seeing new places on their own. This is a great way to meet new friends, and perhaps gain a new travel buddy.
Mix and match is the way forward for packing
I hate packing, I hate having to think about what I’m going to wear every day for the duration of my time away, and it’s through many mistakes that I’ve learnt mix and match is the way to go. Think black basics with colourful accessories, staple items like denim skirts and linen trousers, and never attempt to wear heels overseas – flats are the way forward!
Indirect flights saves you money
It might add a little time onto your journey but if you can save a considerable amount of money, flying indirect isn’t always a bad thing. Work out what your connection time is, and if it’s only an a hour or two, go for it. You can always grab a coffee whilst you’re waiting.
Self-catering accommodation pushes you to try new places
Self-catering makes you go out and about because you would either a) starve if you didn’t, and b) become rather lonely. Of course you can cook to save money, but I like the freedom of self-catering over all other board types.
Change your currency in resort
You will almost always get a better exchange rate in the country you’re travelling to, as opposed to changing it before you leave. Take a little of the local currency to tide you over for a day or two, and change the rest over there.
Check if your mobile phone company allow you to use your contract allowance
If you are on a phone contract, give your company a call and inform them of your intentions to travel. Sometimes you can use your allowance overseas, and sometimes they will freeze your contract whilst you’re travelling, at their discretion of course. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!